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Mosquitoes in Grant County test positive for West Nile virus

There have not been any human or animal cases reported this year, but the detection of the virus in there is a possibility that it can spread.

GRANT COUNTY, Wash. — Grant County health officials say a mosquito sample collected from the area tested positive for West Nile Virus last week.

A spokesperson for the Grant County Health District says it is the first detection of the virus in Grant County and the second statewide for the 2019 season.

Washington state’s first positive mosquito sample was reported in Benton County.

The positive mosquito sample in Grant County was found east of Road C SE near the Frenchman Wasteway.

Health officials say they will continue aerial and truck-mounted mosquito spraying throughout the district to slow the progression of the virus into more populated areas.

There have not been any human or animal cases reported this year, but the detection of the virus in the mosquito populations means there is a possibility that it can spread.

In 2018, three Washington residents were diagnosed with West Nile virus disease, two of which were infected outside of the state. No human cases were reported in Grant County, though the virus was found in 29 mosquito samples.

One horse was infected in Grant County last year, health officials said.

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West Nile virus is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito and is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental U.S. People over 50 years old have the highest risk of serious illness.

Most people who are infected with the virus will not get sick, and about one in five people will have mild symptoms like fever, headache and body aches.

Severe symptoms may include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis and coma.

Those who have symptoms of the virus are urged to contact their healthcare provider.

Here are some tips for preventing mosquito bites and reducing the places where they live and breed around your home:

  • Stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are the most active
  • Wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants and a hat when going into mosquito-infested areas, such as wetlands or wooded areas
  • Use mosquito repellent. Read the label and carefully follow instructions. Take special care when using repellent on children. Mosquito repellents that contain the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus work best
  • Make sure windows and doors are “bug tight” and repair or replace screens as needed
  • Eliminate mosquito-breeding areas around your home by emptying or discarding anything that holds standing water—bottles, cans, old tires, buckets, plastic covers, and toys. Change water in birdbaths, fountains, kiddie pools, and animal troughs at least twice each week. Make sure roof gutters drain properly and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall and fix leaky outdoor faucets and sprinklers

Visit the state Department of Health website for more information about West Nile virus in Washington.

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